• Simone Berger

The 6 golden questions to consider when building a personal brand

What is a personal brand?

What are the elements to consider when creating or building a personal brand? Well, first we need to clarify what a personal brand is and who needs one. A personal brand is not limited to only the rich and famous, or someone hoping to be an influencer. It is a journey we all need to embark on, to decipher what we stand for, what our values are and how we'd like to interact in the world.

A personal brand helps us to determine our legacy, famous or not. It's all about how we make others feel and what they will remember of us when we step out of the room or out of this world. If you're thinking it's not important what others think of you. Think again.

How will you be remembered?

How you're perceived is the difference between being remembered and being forgotten. Now there are healthy and unhealthy ways to be remembered. So creating a personal brand that is as closely knitted to who you are authentically is very important. If you're going to start on a people-pleasing and self-compromising mission where you build your personal brand purely on external trends, opinions or self-imposed ideals, be prepared to be forgotten.

Building a personal brand that is authentic to who you are is key. You will be remembered, and whether in awe or in ridicule, you'll live a more purposeful life. This is legacy. This is the road of the change-maker, the free-spirited and the happy.

"Your personal brand is your reputation. And your reputation is the foundation of your career." - Gary Vaynerchuk

We all have a personal brand, whether we're aware of it or not. So building an intentional personal brand that brings us and others great value is important . It isn't something we do overnight either. It's a kind of hero's journey we accept, through challenge and ecstasy, to become our highest potential. It's a daily invitation to ask important, and perhaps not easy, questions of ourselves.

"Branding yourself is like trying to read the label when you're inside the bottle" - Donal Miller

What do I stand for? How do I wish to make other's feel? What is the main message I'd like to leave? What do I stand against? What is my stance when communicating my inspirations and my boundaries? What in my life or in myself needs to die, in order to shift my success higher? What in my life or in myself is asking to be born, in order to step up into my fullest potential?

Then, only then, can we start to decipher and clarify our personal brands. It can be a daunting task to most, with little knowledge of where to start. It must be done, however, if we are to make a positive impression in that interview, for that promotion, or to sell our product to customers. It goes further than this. It stretches to how you decide what people you want around you. Friends, lovers, business partners and recruiting staff.

So here are the 6 golden questions to consider when creating or building your personal brand:

1. What is your end goal or intention?

What legacy do you want to create? Be clear about this intention as this is the foundation for all your brand represents. Every thought and action will follow on from this, making decisions easier. This also creates more focus, direction and clarity.

Once you are clear about your end goal or intention, be consistent and never deviate from it. This helps to build your reputation, your authority and your credibility. People will never have to guess what experience they can expect from you, as you've made it clear via your consistency in all past outcomes and behaviours.

2. Are you being authentic?

It's easy to swerve from one's true authentic needs or intention when an opportunity shines brighter than your chosen path. This is where most brands fail. People stray from their own values to fit in, or get the big break.

If you are not aligned to your true intention, you will not get there. Period. You will then always be pulled in directions that look good but never really move you forward. Always ask, "Is this good for me and my growth?" or "Does this get me to my end goal?" or "Does this bring me inner peace?"

3. Have you discovered your story?

Everyone has a story. We are who and where we are in life from its sometimes hard, and sometimes incredible, experiences. It might sound easy to speak your story but truth is, it takes courage and a humble approach. You risk loosing attention and big opportunities when you don't tell the right story.

Your story must always mirror the frustrations, the fears and desires of who you're speaking to. It should always provide hope and it should always place you in a position of someone who has successfully won over their challenge. Do this right and you'll create empathy and support. We all want to know you're human. The power of story must never be underestimated when hoping to advance oneself in the world.

4. Can you be ok with being wrong, to fail or to be disliked?

Part of building our personal brand is to discover who we truly are, more and more . This means it can shift weekly, and can even be painful. When life brings challenges to question the constructs we have built about ourselves, we tend to take it personally. The key here is to never see your personal brand as an everlasting blueprint set in stone.

As you shift, your brand will shift. In fact, the deeper you clutch your nails into the ground of righteousness, the less likely you are to remain sustainable and relevant. Your customers will change, your economic landscape will change, trends change and your sense of what is important will change. As long as you are always clear about your end goal or intention, you are set to withstand any external triggers.

5. Does your brand create value and positive impact?

If personal branding comes down to how you make others feel, then make sure it's good. It is possible to be remembered for bad decisions. One doesn't have to look far into our political arena or into human history to see many examples of this.

When you are clarifying your end goal or intention, ask how this will add value to your customer, your community or to the world at large. We are living in a tumultuous time with so many reasons to feel our peace of mind is at stake daily. If you want to gain attraction and following, provide value.

6. Who are your mentors and gurus?

One of the best ways I have maintained my personal brand when faced with a large decision or a trying time in my life, is to mirror my decisions against my mentor. What would he/she do? How would he/she move through this testing moment? What would he/she put in place to thrive? Find a mentor or guru you respect.

They can be dead or live. They can be fictitious or real. As long as they always call you to your greatest potential by mirroring your values. It's important to review your choice of guide every year or so to ensure he/she still fits, feels relevant and is aligned to how you have matured.

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” — Oprah Winfrey

In conclusion

Remote work, freelance work and entrepreneurship is growing at an exponential rate. This means the pond of competition gets larger every year, creating both a global threat and more opportunities. Having a personal brand is the only way to gain authority and credibility. Use the above 6 golden questions to get started, but ensure you also have online presence. We must use our online presence as a tool to cut through the data fog and carve out our distinctive place within it.

Do you know how to develop a unique and distinguishable brand for yourself. Get the objective support you need to ensure it is compelling, that it's telling the best version of your story and marketing your talents or skills. If you're ready to embark on your personal brand journey, simply contact us. We offer a simple 7-step formula that gets your brand clarified, in only 5 coaching sessions.

For more information click here or simply email Simone Berger: simone@univation.co.za


Simone Berger supports brands to understand their customer and clarify their message.

She's passionate about giving value, and always open to a coffee or chat. Email: simone@univation.co.za or call +27 84 7778870.

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